About Us

Community-Centered Conservation in Southwest Colorado

Montezuma Land Conservancy (MLC) is an innovative land trust working to protect lands and connect community to our natural world in beautiful Southwest Colorado.

Founded in 1998, MLC has worked with 75 families to protect more than 47,000 acres of open space, wildlife habitat, public access trails, and agricultural lands through the use of voluntary conservation easements.

At MLC we realize the importance of connecting our communities to place and work with our partners to develop innovative and inclusive youth and adult programs that ensure future generations have the opportunity to engage with the natural world, and build relationships in their community.

Our programs focus on one key philosophy: When we learn to love land, we will protect it. We learn to love through connection.

Our Vision

We envision a landscape where sufficient habitat supports a healthy ecosystem, lands remain a cornerstone of local life and economy, and people across our communities enjoy the benefits of conservation and connection to the land.

Our Values



We believe that all people deserve to feel connected to the land and one another. Through our projects, programs, and community engagement, MLC will foster a sense of belonging by including partners and community members in our work to connect people to the natural world.



We believe that successful conservation efforts and a sustainable future depend on healthy, balanced relationships with people and place. MLC will practice reciprocity by listening to community members, observing and understanding our landscape, and investing our resources to respond to these needs.



We believe that trust must be earned and maintained through integrity, transparency, accountability, and reliability, and by creating spaces for collaboration and sharing. We will earn trust through professionalism, authentic communications, and organizational responsibility.



We believe it is important to understand and acknowledge the social and environmental challenges of the past, present, and future that impact conservation and community. Through our programs and leadership, we will incorporate social and environmental justice into conservation and inspire others to join us in this work.



We believe that our organizational culture of creativity, curiosity, and adaptation enables us to explore emerging opportunities to advance conservation. We will continue to be leaders in our field by remaining agile as we respond to changes in our work and the world in which we live.



We believe that the results of our work will provide meaningful benefits to land, community, and future generations. We will strive to be agents of change in conservation and achieve outcomes with measurable and visible results.


Inclusion Statement

We are dedicated to protecting land and engaging with our communities for present and future generations so the benefits of conservation can be felt by all.

Where We Work

Our land protection work covers Montezuma County, Dolores County, and West San Miguel County in the Southwest corner of Colorado.

Our region is uniquely vulnerable to the effects associated with increasing drought, wildfire risk, and loss of habitat and agricultural lands.

We believe the best approaches to addressing these concerns are found by involving our communities, both tribal and non-tribal, in collaboration, and by educating the next generation about conservation and lands-based issues.

Our Priorities

The six core priority areas which guide our work.

In 2023, MLC released our new Strategic Plan, a result of over a years worth of community outreach and design.

Home What We Do Community

Community Engagement

Develop meaningful ways to connect youth and adults to conservation including educational programs, demonstration projects, and internships

First Last Name

Cross-Cultural Connections

Prioritize relationship building and collaboration with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and other underrepresented groups to achieve conservation outcomes benefitting all

Mlc About Climateresiliency

Climate Resiliency

Emphasize projects that protect water and forest resources, seek creative management solutions to drought and wildfire, and help our community respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change

a herd of elk taking rest in an open clearing

Wildlife Habitat

Protect and restore critical wildlife habitat and corridors that support thriving biodiversity of native plants and animals

Mlc About Workinglands

Working Lands

Support farmers and ranchers in protecting the lands that keep agriculture vibrant and successful in our community

young farmers learning about irrigation

Access & Equity

Ensure that all members of our community have access to land and connection with the natural world, particularly those underrepresented in conservation programs

Our Programs Focus on One Key Philosopy

When we learn to love land, we will protect it. We learn to love through connection.

We're Transparent

Our Commitment to Accountability

At MLC, we pride ourselves on transparency in our work and financials.

We are committed to stewarding not just the lands we love, but every dollar entrusted to us to make our community and conservation work possible.

With Thanks

Our Sponsors